I drew up 52 potential ‘residents’ (or other people of importance in the history of the Springhill area of Higher Cloughfold, Rossendale, Lancashire) and put them into alphabetical order for my blog. That meant that the first entry in my 52 residents challenge was one John Ashworth ...
John Ashworth bought the land on which Springhill house now stands and the surrounding area in 1835. The house is seen on the OS map of 1840 and John Ashworth is enumerated as being there on the 1841 census – occupation ‘coal merchant’ (HO/107/509/6 folio 18 p29). There is also a reference in the obituary of his son-in-law, Charles Patrick, to Ashworth having been a woollen merchant but I can find no further reference to this (Obituary Charles Patrick RFP 23 Feb 1895).
A coal merchant he definitely was however, being one of the major partners of Ashworth Hargreaves & Co, the major pit owners in Rossendale with at least 17 collieries in Rossendale and a further four in Baxenden. These were small scale pits working seams in pats no more that 18 inches thick and in the main, supplying local mills for steam production. This is an example of how developments in one field, in this case the mechanisation of the textile industry and the steam engine, led to business opportunities in related areas. The coal had to be moved somehow and Ashworth was a shareholder in the local turnpike companies. This didn’t stop his coal company creating two access roads from one pit (Old Meadow in Bacup) to the main road so customers from both directions could avoid the toll bar. No wonder the turnpikes never made money!
Having money didn’t prevent the family from tragedy, with one child dying in 1810 aged one year and another in 1844 aged 35.
John Ashworth died in 1850. His will described how he was charged under the will of his father Richard to pay an annuity to his sister Ann during her spinsterhood and John in his will left instructions that this should continue after his death. His land and shares were left to his spinster daughter Mary Ann.
He remained connected with the church of St Nicholas all his life and left his pew there to his daughter Mary Ann. I’d love to know which one it was ...
John Ashworth was baptised on 25 Dec 1777, the son of Richard and Betty Ashworth of Cloughfold, in Newchurch St Nicholas by the Rev J Shorrocks (Bishop’s Transcripts p2 entry 57 LDS film 1040340 via Lancs OPC). He died on 25 Mar 1850 at Cloughfold (Burials 1848-1860 p33 entry 259, original parish register via Lancs OPC).
John’s sister, Martha Ashworth, was baptised 26 Aug 1776, abode Newchurch (Bishop’s Transcripts p1 entry 44 LDS film 1040340 via Lancs OPC) and his sister, Ann, was baptised 11 Jul 1782 when their abode was given as the wonderfully named ‘Top of Huttock’ (LDS film 950353 via Lancs OPC).
John married Betty Ormerod, of Whitewell Bottom, in St Nicholas on 11 Jun 1805 (Baptisms (sic) 1802-1812 entry 879, LDS film 950354 via Lancs OPC) and the couple had four children: